I just finished rereading Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time, by Jeff Sutherland. When I finished, I suggested the book to both my son James and my apprentice at Sustainable Evolution, Andrew Wilt. They both LOVED it. Andrew was enthused enough to suggest we start running weekly sprints and daily standups. In the coming weeks, I will write a book review and he will add his thought in a Scrum blog piece. I’m sure we will have follow-up posts as we move forward with this pilot and adopt this approach to working together. Since Andrew lives in one state and me in another, we will have to use technology to close the gaps.
Near the beginning of 2016, I blogged about this year being a Leap Year. I suggested that with planning, I would be able to leverage that extra day to review the trajectory of my year and do any course correction needed to meet my yearly goals. To do this, I need to know what my goals for the year are and what my plan to get there looks like. The key areas I mentioned in the blog post were day-to-day time management, work back schedule, goal construction, and milestones. I’m reporting back on how I did with those areas and how I did with my extra day.
I’ve suggested before that you need to identify a role model to help you further your skills and career. You identify an area inside of yourself you want to change and find someone that you think represents the embodiment of that change. You consider why you think they are ideal, what they do differently, and how they do it. Then, you start practicing doing things the way they do. As you practice, you learn and grow your abilities in that area and before you know it, you have adapted their approach and tweaked it to make it your own. Find another area to grow and repeat. There are quite a few good things about this approach, however, there is a risk. You may get into the routine of only doing what others do and let your ability to experiment, innovate, and have original thoughts atrophy. Here’s how I have tried to balance the two approaches.
As you may (or may not) have read, I am involved in the local (Seattle) chapter of Iasa first ever IT architecture competition. We are at the point where the rubber meets the road. Team Skyscraper needs to submit their first set of deliverables this weekend on the 22nd. The deliverables are a business requirements document and initial draft of an architectural design document with conceptual and information architecture complete.
There are a ton of survivor-style television shows out. You know, where one or several people get dropped in a location they do not know without anything (or next to nothing). They have to “make it” for some amount of time or form a tribe and work through the tribe interactions. When you get a new job, the experience can be very similar. You take the job, get a set of stuff and are expected to survive and thrive. Both follow Maslow’s Hierarchy of Basic Needs. Maslow stayed really busy creating a lot of theories about humans, and most are patterns that I use to understand what I need to give and get from a job.
Apprenticeship has been in practice since the time of the ancient Greeks, Egyptians, and Babylonians as a way to transfer expertise through generations. That said, modern business and especially technology-focused groups have little experience setting up and running apprentice programs. This will have to change or businesses will find themselves short of skilled employees.
For me, life is somewhat of a relay race. Growing through the stages of childhood, through adulthood, and finally to leading others I have always thought about succession plans and making sure there was someone in place to replace me. I’ve also always tried to have one or many mentors and one or many mentees and the rewards for both are tremendous. While living in a small town I was the computer guy, so as I became more known and busier I found a mentee to grow as a replacement for me. Like a relay race, I passed the baton to my mentee and tried to make that person better than I had been, or at least make it easier for them to travel a path I had been down.